I used to complain that Shavuot in Israel lasted only one day and was over too quickly.
Tens of thousands of people would stay up all night, learning and studying at various venues and then converge at the Kotel, the Western Wall, for dawn prayer services. Eat and sleep and the day was over, with not enough time for guests.
Well, not this year. With Shabbat immediately following, we ended up with a two-day holiday in Israel as well as those living outside of Israel.
I got what I asked for, and I’m happy to go back to one day next year when Shavuot falls on Monday.
In Jerusalem, the summer sun has dried the tall green growth in the Valley of the Cross.
Nature and seasons appear unaware of a pandemic and are unchanged.
While the Israel Museum on top of the hill suffers from the novel coronavirus affecting its closure, the weeds below in the valley have flourished.
Not far away is Jerusalem Cinema City, also trying to come back after COVID-19 closures.
On my first visit to Cinema City, I took this photo of a wall mural.
Where else but Jerusalem would you find Moses with the Ten Commandments on the wall next to the movie theater escalators?
While I was searching for that old photo I found this one taken the same day.
In this upside-down coronavirus time, would an IDF soldier walk so close to a stranger?
Has the time come when helping a blind man cross a busy street is not a good thing?
The official announcement:
Following the closure of educational institutions against the backdrop of the coronavirus crisis, and the gradual return to routine, it was agreed that students should receive educational continuity until the beginning of August. This will significantly reduce the financial burden of their parents and reduce gaps in Israeli society.
With an outbreak of COVID-19 among students and teachers at one large Jerusalem secular high school, it is closed again today. And before I could publish this today, another high school has announced closing for the week due to an infected teacher.
However, tomorrow senior citizen sessions are scheduled to reopen, in limited numbers with only physical and art activities in person. The rest will remain in Zoom.
The Jerusalem Film Festival announced plans to hold the festival in a regular format this summer following the decision by Israeli authorities to allow the reopening of cinemas in the country from June 14.
The event is now to run August 20-30, just over a month later than its originally scheduled July 16-26 time slot.
Meanwhile, in the theme of the Shavuot holiday, I thought to share a few short film clips from the King David Night Show at the Tower of David.
King David the warrior in battle,
and David the Poet.
In past years, the seemingly endless list of Festivals began after Shavuot.
The Light Festival in the Old City in particular was popular, filling the streets at night.
Remember when Damascus Gate was lit like a giant pinball machine for Jerusalem Light Festival?
My all-time favorite light projection was also at the Damascus Gate.
This morning the Temple Mount was reopened after a two-month closure.
Muslim worshipers crowded through the Green Gate to enter.
Non-Muslims lined up to go up the ramp to Mughrabi Gate.
This video is from years ago. Will the Old City return to the old “normal”?
For Shavuot services at the Kotel this year, tickets were required to enter. A limited number were distributed by lottery. Each ticket had the name and ID number on them. Late at night after Shabbat was over, there were people on the plaza and near the Kotel, but not in the large numbers we were accustomed to in the past.
One of my favorite images from Shavuot 5780 was of President Reuven Rivlin serving cheesecake and lemonade to security forces on the eve of the holiday. It was a year since his wife Nechama passed away, and he said it was something she would do, so he did it in her memory. The cemetery at Har Herzl where she is buried is under construction now and even the presidential family could not go on her yahrzeit.
The sun is shining and temperatures are pleasant out on the Jerusalem streets.
Jerusalem is planning to temporarily close thirteen city center streets to traffic, hoping people will come back to dine at the outside tables. Ads have been placed to get Israelis to come to Jerusalem. With international tourism halted, Jerusalem’s tourist-based economy needs desperate measures with so many businesses suffering and forced to close.
What will happen next? We will have to wait and see.
The numbers of construction cranes seem to multiply overnight.
Hope to see you all in Jerusalem soon.